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Tragic loss Widow of pro golfer Liam Duggan describes impact of his death as she settles case against HSE

University Hospital Kerry apologises for 'deficit of care' which resulted in the untimely death of the 37-year-old father of two


RIP: Liam Duggan

RIP: Liam Duggan

RIP: Liam Duggan

The widow of deceased pro golfer and father of two Liam Duggan, has described the impact his death had on her young family after her action against the HSE was settled for a substantial sum. 

University Hospital Kerry has apologised and acknowledged the “deficit of care” which resulted in the untimely death of the 37-year-old father of two.

The pro-golfer died of a rare form of colitis after he had attended at University Hospital Kerry, Tralee, in 2017.

His heartbroken widow Catherine Duggan described the impact of Liam’s untimely death on their family including his young children were just one and three years old when he died.

“The tragic loss of Jack and Amelia’s dad at such an early age especially when that loss should not have happened left both children shattered,” Ms Duggan stated.

On March 18, 2017, Liam presented to University Hospital Kerry complaining of abdominal pain with vomiting and diarrhoea.

He was discharged on April 3 with the HSE admitting that there was a breach of care in a failure to perform a repeat abdominal CT scan to investigate Mr Duggan’s condition before his discharge from hospital.

Just nine days later, Liam was once again admitted via the A&E of the University Hospital Kerry with abdominal pain vomiting with diarrhoea, high temperature, high pulse and clear evidence of sepsis.

He was transferred to Cork University Hospital two days later but tragically passed away on May 9.

“Children should not have to face a tragedy like this,” Ms Duggan added. “Liam adored Jack and Amelia. He was such a family man who was loved so much. His life revolved around both of them.”

Catherine was critical of the mismanagement of Liam’s care and the painful and prolonged battle for answers since his death which she thanked her legal team Homs Assist for supporting her with.

“I hope by bringing awareness today that it might save someone else’s life,” she added. “The whole system and ordeal of having to face an inquest where the truth was not told and in my opinion covered up from the start has been utterly devastating for me and my children.

"We have had to fight tooth and nail to bring justice for Liam who should have been in the prime of his life.

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“Thank you also to my great legal team at HOMS Assist who invested so much time and effort in this fight for justice for Liam.”

“We have fought hard the last four years to get to today. The HSE’s mistakes have had a life changing effect on Liam’s family and friends who hopefully after today can get some peace from this decision and bring closure to them. After a four year legal battle I hope that Liam gets to rest in peace.”

Rachael O’Shaughnessy, solicitor from Homs Assist, praised Ms Duggan for her perseverance through the painful legal process to seek answers and justice for Liam.

“Catherine has been exceptionally brave throughout this really painful process,” she stated.

“I first met Catherine when she was recently widowed and her determination to get answers during what has been an uphill battle has been an inspiration.

“Despite no open disclosure from the University Hospital Kerry and despite no answers from the inquest Catherine has been relentless in her quest to find out what happened to her husband, Liam.

“It is as a result of Catherine’s bravery and conviction and asking the right questions on behalf of her husband, herself and her children that I believe we are standing here today. It is so desperately sad that two young children have been left without a father, Catherine without a loving husband and a local community without an immense talent.”

An apology issued to Catherine and her children on behalf of the HSE from Fearghal Grimes, the General Manager of University Hospital Kerry stated: “University Hospital Kerry would like to acknowledge the deficits of care which resulted in the untimely death of your husband and father, Liam.

“We recognise that this loss has had a profound and devastating effect on you and your family. I wish to offer my heartfelt apologies for the shortcomings in the care provided and for the distress suffered by you, Jack and Amelia.”

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